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The city of Warri has a unique history that has not been documented well enough by historians. The name Warri pronvince was once applicable to the part of an area now called Delta State under the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria. Its boundary in the north east was Nsukwa/Isheagu creek near Kwale and Aboh,Forcados River in the south east and Jamieson Creek in the south west and later changed to Delta Pronvince. Warri city is one of the major hubs of petroleum activities and businesses in the southern Nigeria. It is a commercial capital city of Delta State, with a population of over 311,970 people according to the national population census figures for 2006. The city is one of cosmopolitan cities in southern Nigeria comprising originally of Itsekiri, Urhobo and Ijaw people. Warri is predominantly Christian with mixture of African traditional religions like most of the Southern Nigeria. The city is known nationwide for its unique Pidgin English.
Warri was once a provincial capital to British rule. The Lagos and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria was formally united as Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria on 28 February 1906 and Walter Egerton was appointed as the Governor of new Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, holding office until 1912. In the new Southern Nigeria, the old Lagos Colony became the Western Province, and the former Southern Nigerian Protectorate was split into a Central Province with capital at Warri and an Eastern Province with capital at Calabar. Warri sits on the bank of River Warri which joined River Forcados and River Escravos through Jone Creek in the lower Niger Delta Region. The city has a modern seaport which serves as the cargo transit point between the Niger River and the Atlantic Ocean for import and export. The city's history dates back to the 15th century, when it was visited by Portuguese missionaries. Subsequently it served as the base for Portuguese and Dutch slave traders. Warri became a more important port city during the late 19th century, when it became a centre for the palm oil trade and other major items such as rubber, palm products, cocoa, groundnuts, hides, and skins.
Warri was then established as a provincial headquarters by the British in the early 20th century. There have been a tremendous growth in the population; it has grown from being a rural area to an urban area.
Warri is regarded as a modern metropolitan area with expanded infrastructural development in other local government areas such as Uvwie, Udu, Ughelli, Sapele and Okpe in recent years, with various road networks linking these places into one. Each of these areas has its own administrative structure.
The region experiences moderate rainfall and moderate humidity for most part of the year. The climate is equatorial and is marked by two distinct seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. The dry season lasts from about November to April and is significantly marked by the cool "harmarttan" dusty haze from the north-east winds. The rainy season spans May to October with a brief dry spell in August, but it frequently rains even in the dry season. The area is characterized by tropical equatorial climate with mean annual temperature of 32.8 °C and annual rainfall amount of 2673.8 mm. There are high temperatures of 36 °C and 37 °C. The natural vegetation is of rainforest with swamp forest in some areas. The forest is rich in timber trees, palm trees, as well as fruit trees.
Economy and infrastructure
There is the Warri Refinery and Petrochemicals located at Ekpan, Ubeji and Ifie-Kporo were majority of international and local oil companies operating in Nigeria having their operational offices close by. One of the nations major sea ports is sited within Ugbuwangue, Warri. Delta Steel Company located at Aladja and Otorogu Gas Plants at Otor-Udu, Warri.
Warri is garrisoned by the Amphibious Infantry battalion (Effurun Army Base) located in Effurun, a nearby town to Warri and is administratively under the Brigade HQ in Port Harcourt.
The Nigeria Navy operates from its facilities in Warri.
The 61 Nigerian Air force Detachment also operates from its facilities in Warri
Warri has an international stadium with a capacity of 30,000, which has hosted two editions of the African Women Football Championship in 2002 and 2006 respectively and was in contention as one of the venues to be used for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria in 2009. The stadium was used to host the African Youth Athletics Championship (AYAC) in 2013. Warri Wolves, a professional football team based in Warri plays in the Nigerian Premiership football league. The many prominent footballers like Best Ogedegbe, Wilson Oruma, Efe Ambrose, Victor Ikpeba and Ekigho Ehiosun.
Warri has a state-operated television and radio station (Delta Rainbow Television and Delta State Radio)
Manufacturing and raw materials
The economic base of the city lies in the presence of a refinery and other oil and gas companies. Also,there is the steel company, Delta Steel Company, which is located in Ovwian–Aladja area of Udu. The Beta Glass Plant is located nearby, outside the town of Ughelli, where the land is rich in silica and silicates, raw materials required for the manufacture of glass, ceramics and cement. The Power Holding Company, one of Nigeria's power generating stations, is also located at Ughelli, which is just 15 minutes away by car.
In 1991, construction started on a standard gauge railway from the steel mills at Ajaokuta to the port of Warri, about 275 km away. By 2006, the standard gauge lines had reached 329 km in length, but the final 27 km Warri section is still incomplete. In 2010, work recommenced to complete that final section to Warri.
Major road networks within Warri Metropolis has been improved upon by the state government to improve the image of the city. Transportation within the city is mainly by bus and tricycle. The federal government has completed the Warri-Benin Road road expansion project and is presently working on the East West Road Project which will connect Warri-Port Harcourt.
Arik Air and Aero Contractors are some of the main airlines operating commercial flights on this route while major oil companies like Shell and Chevron use the airport for transportation of their staff to offshore locations.
Movement of goods by sea is through the Nigerian Ports Authority (Delta Ports) at which is mainly for export and import of goods by major companies. Also located on the main Warri riverside are markets and jetties used by local traders, which act as a transit point for local transport and trade. There are local boats which are used for movement from one location to another.
There are various institutions of higher learning sited within the Warri Metropolis
- Federal University of Petroleum Resource Effurun (FUPRE) at Effurun,
- Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) at Effurun
- College of Education Warri
- The Delta State Nursing School Warri .
There are investment opportunities in the tourism sector within Warri and in nearby towns. Abraka is just one of these towns, a favourite destination for domestic and international tourists. It is just 30 minutes away from Warri by car. The Abraka beach is famous for its natural flowing spring water, and has sports and recreational facilities for outdoor activities like canoeing, fishing, swimming, barbecue, and picnicking.
There are various tourist sites to visit while in Warri:
- Abraka Golf Course
- Delta Ports
- Effurun Garden Park
- Main Warri Market
- Nana Living History Museum
- Osubi Airport
- Red Mangrove swamp
- Udu Bridge
- Warri City Stadium
- Word of Life Bible Church Building
- Ovie palace
- Ekeh, Peter Palmer (2005). Warri City and British Colonial Rule in Western Niger Delta. Urhobo Historical Society. p. 31. ISBN 978-064-924-7.
- "hotel and tourism development potentials in delta state". goodie ibru. 2 June 2001. Retrieved 11 January 2008.